France: Marseille Blue Stars shock Catalan Grizzlys with surprise shutout, Argonautes stay in hunt

This weekend in France’s D1 Elite Championship division, the Marseille Blue Stars shocked the Catalan Grizzlys with a lopsided shutout victory in what had been touted to be a close contest in Conference B. Meanwhile, the Aix Argonautes kept pace with a shellacking of the winless Montpellier Hurricanes.

Aix en Provence Argonautes (4-3) 44 – Montpellier Hurricanes 14 (0-8)

Photo: Ridge Sports

The Montpellier Hurricanes took on the Aix en Provence Argonautes in the first game of week 8. But with the Hurricanes still failing to record one win, the scales were tilted in the favor of the Argonautes before the game even kicked off.

Argonautes quarterback Michael Pina came out firing in the first half, hitting receivers Pedro Rosa and Micael Boutin for big gains. Both receivers finished the game with 100+ yards, adding to Pina’s impressive final tally of 404 passing yards and three touchdowns.

The Hurricanes did stage a short-lived comeback in the third quarter where they held the Argonautes to 0 points, but this defensive effort quickly fell apart as they let in 24 points in the final quarter ending the game 14–44.

Marseille Blue Stars (8-0) 47 – Catalan Grizzlys (5-3) 0

Photo: JaRamon Pix

After the initial contest between two of Conference B’s toughest teams on March 27 ended in a tight 35-28 win for the Blue Stars, this second meeting was set to be an exciting affair. But from the very first quarter, the Blue Stars seemed to shift into a gear the league has yet to see.

The 35 first-half points were impressive but what wowed onlookers the most was the complete game that quarterback Kaleb Scott played, feeding every offensive player on the team. Nine different receivers were targeted by Scott, seven of whom had two or more receptions.

This offensive onslaught was aided by a complete rushing attack too. Four different rushers gashed the Grizzlys defense with averages of over four yards per carry, allowing the Blue Stars to remain diverse on offense.

On defense, Marseille shut down the league’s top passer. Catalan’s Jacob Purichia was held to a measly 63 yards, which in weeks past has been unheard of. But the star of day remained Kaleb Scott who was able to throw for 358 yards and six touchdowns.

As the playoffs approach it seems that two teams in the D1 Championship Elite are on a collision course, the Marseille Blue Stars and La Courneuve Flash. Whether the Flash’s defense can withstand Marseille’s offensive onslaught will surely make for great viewing come the French Championship game.

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.